Prior to the Eagles-Cowboys matchup on Sunday Night Football, Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro dropped an interesting hint on the SportsRadio 94WIP pregame show (hat tip to BGN Radio’s John Barchard).
“They’ve still got some cap room,” Spadaro said. “They’ve got players like Alshon Jeffery. They’ve got players like Nigel Bradham, Trey Burton, Beau Allen. I believe the Eagles will sign one more player before the end of this season.”
It’s possible that Spuds is just speculating, but it sounds like he might know something here. As the team’s official reporter, Spadaro is limited in how much he can reveal, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know anything. He regularly drops hints. If you pay close attention, you can often read into them. (Just like this Jordan Matthews example.)
So let’s assume Spuds is right. Considering the Eagles extended Tim Jernigan’s contract earlier this month, it’s not that crazy of an idea. Who might the Eagles re-sign next before the season is over?
Before we start with the players mentioned by Spuds, here’s a quick update on the Eagles’ spending situation. Philly current has $2,627,587 in cap room, per Over The Cap. Only five teams have less. The Eagles are currently projected to rank last in cap space for 2018 with negative $2,692,221. They’ll be able to free up some money with cuts/trades, so key decisions are coming this offseason.
Jeffery is the Eagles’ most notable upcoming free agent. After surprisingly signing a one-year deal with Philly, Jeffery hasn’t gotten off to the hottest start in 2017. But he’s been playing his best football recently. Jeffery is currently at 38 receptions for 567 yards (14.9 average) and six touchdowns through 10 games played.
It’d be surprising to see Jeffery re-sign before the season is over. Given the season he’s having, his value isn’t the highest it could be. He shouldn’t be in a rush to sign a deal. If he continues to play well down the stretch, he could boost his future earnings.
I do think the Eagles have interest in re-signing Jeffery. The coaching staff has spoken well of his ability to be a No. 1 wide receiver. Jeffery also seems to have mutual interest in staying in Philly. Look no further than his post-game comments following the Dallas game. He’s not acting like a mercenary. He’s a key part of this locker room.
The Jeffery situation could get tricky due to the fact the Eagles are limited on cap space. If the two sides have genuine interest in working with each other, though, then they could find a way to work something out.
Does Alshon Jeffery want to stay here?: "I love it here in Philly. I hope so.” ...Wouldn't discuss contract or negotiations, deferring to his agent and Howie Roseman.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) November 21, 2017
I could see the Eagles re-signing Bradham before the season is over. He’s been having a good season and he has reason to sign now because of that. He could risking losing out on money if his play declines or he gets banged up down the stretch. Bradham’s also played the best football of his career under Jim Schwartz, so there’s reason to stay in Philly (though Schwartz could always get another head coaching job). Due the oft-injured nature of Jordan Hicks, having Bradham around is important. Re-signing him shouldn’t break the bank.
Burton is only playing 27% of the Eagles’ offensive snaps. He has 11 receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns this season. Burton’s also a key special teams contributor.
The Eagles gave Burton a second-round tender as a restricted free agent this offseason, despite the fact he’s their third string tight end. That shows they like him. Carson Wentz specifically likes him, although that didn’t do much for JMatt.
Burton shouldn’t be super expensive to re-sign. He’ll have an opportunity to see some more playing time, too, with this likely being Brent Celek’s last season with Philadelphia.
Perhaps there’s a team out there that’s willing to feature Burton in a bigger role and pay him accordingly. I don’t think so, but all it takes is one. He might want to leave for a bigger opportunity.
For now, I think the Eagles could re-sign him to a very reasonable deal.
The Eagles reportedly were in negotiations on an extension with earlier this year but nothing ever materialized.
Allen is a really nice No. 3 defensive tackle to have. He’s proven to be a capable starter when filling in for Fletcher Cox.
Allen might not be a guy the Eagles can afford to pay. I think the team likes him, and I think he likes it here, but the Eagles won’t be able to keep everyone and they might think they have too many resources already tied up at defensive tackle with Jernigan and Fletcher Cox. The Eagles could try to add another DT in the 2018 NFL Draft to go along with Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls, and Justin Hamilton.
I’d be a little surprised if Allen is the guy who gets re-signed.
Impending free agents not named by Spuds include: Patrick Robinson, Darren Sproles, Corey Graham, LeGarrette Blount, Caleb Sturgis, Will Beatty, Dannell Ellerbe, Najee Goode, Kenjon Barner, Jaylen Watkins.
Sproles is interesting because he’ll be 35 in June and might just retire. Given that he’s injured, he’s not the guy Spuds is talking about.
Robinson is having a great year but it’s hard to see the Eagles bringing him back because he turns 31 next September and Philly has a lot of youth at corner. Robinson should go cash in on a big deal in free agency. The Eagles probably won’t be able to afford to have him stay.
Blount seems to really love playing in Philly but I think the Eagles go in a different direction after this season. He turns 31 in December this year.
The rest of those guys are mostly bottom of the roster players. I doubt Spuds was referring to them.
SO WHO WILL IT BE?
I think it’s either Bradham or Burton. And I think if Spuds would bother to drop a hint like he did I think it might involve an actual starter and not just a special teams contributor (all due respect to Trey). So we’ll see how it goes.